Legislators have sent to the Massachusetts governor a $46.2 billion full-year budget plan that includes provisions to expand access to abortion, additions which have drawn strong pro-life criticism.
An amendment to the budget bill would allow 16-year-olds to obtain an abortion without parental consent, a change from the current age of 18 years. Minors under the age of 16 could obtain a judicial bypass waiver to get an abortion without parental consent. A waiver could be granted via teleconference, according to the bill’s sponsor, State House News Service reported.
The provisions would also allow abortions after 24 weeks into pregnancy, even to the point of birth, for diagnosed fatal anomalies. Under the proposed amendment, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives could perform abortions.
Despite Democratic leaders’ statements appearing to reject major policy riders, the budget bill includes these and other abortion provisions. Also included is some of the language of the “Roe Act,” a 2019 proposal to maintain legal abortion if Roe v. Wade and other pro-abortion precedents were to be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The abortion proposals did not draw much comment in the Senate session, though Republican lawmakers were critical of it elsewhere, the news site MassLive reports.